- Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large saucepan or stock pot over medium heat. Add the carrot, celery and onion, and cook, stirring, for 10 minutes or until soft. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute or until aromatic. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes or until the tomato paste is well combined. Add the passata, tomatoes, stock cube, bay leaves and 100ml water. Simmer, stirring often, for 40 minutes or until the mixture thickens and vegetables soften slightly. Season with salt and pepper.
- While the sauce simmers away cook off your zucchini, heat 1 tablespoon of oil in large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add a third of the zucchini for 2-3 minutes each side or until golden. Transfer to a plate and repeat with the remaining zucchini and oil.
- It’s time to make your spinach bechamel. Place the spinach and milk in a high speed blender and blitz until very smooth and the milk is a deep green colour (alternatively use a stick blender). Melt the butter in a clean saucepan over medium heat until foaming. Add flour and cook, stirring, for 1-2 minutes or until the mixture bubbles. Remove from heat. Gradually whisk in the spinach milk until smooth. Stir over medium heat for at least 5 minutes or until mixture thickens. Stir in the nutmeg and season with salt and pepper.
- Preheat oven to 180°C/160°C fan forced. Reserve 1 cup of the tomato mixture and set aside.
- Spread another 1 cup of the tomato mixture over the base of a 5cm deep, 23 x 30cm ovenproof dish. Top with a third of the lasagne sheets, trimming to fit. Top with a half of the remaining tomato mixture and half the zucchini. Top with another layer of lasagne sheets, the remaining tomato mixture and the remaining zucchini. Top with a final layer of lasagne sheets. Top with the reserved tomato mixture. Spread the spinach bechamel over the top. Combine the mozzarella and parmesan in a bowl. Sprinkle over the top. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until golden and tender.
- Add chopped pancetta or bacon to the base onion mixture. Or try adding sliced deli meat such as ham or mortadella on top of the zucchini in the layers.
- Chopping the celery and carrot by hand maybe more time consuming but it gives them a slightly chunky texture and a little more crunch in this lasagne. However, if you are super short of time whip out the food processor and it will do it in no time at all.
- Zucchini has a lot of water in it so cook off before adding to the layers don’t skip this plus the bonus that pan frying them adds extra flavour.